Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Jones Library: The friction continues...

The Republican Reports

Sent: Tue, Oct 12, 2010 1:33 pm
Subject: A public apology for my recently released email.

Recently, a personal email I sent a group of friends in reaction to Library Director Isman's retirement was made public. That email has understandably upset some people. I apologize for the tone of a personal email written in the heat of the moment. But one of my principles is you don't write anything in private that you aren't willing to defend in public. I genuinely believe that what happens over the next few months may determine whether our library can stay a first-rate institution.

I hope those who have read my letter understand the reason for my passionate reaction. At issue isn't a controversy over policy, nor clashing personalities, and it's certainly not about "politics". It's about what the rules are that define a library. We have been struggling with a constitutional crisis.

At heart the question is: who is going to run our library, professionals or politicians?

Fortunately, we trustees have agreed to the equivalent of turning to the Supreme Court for an answer and are hiring a facilitator to meet with us this November. The facilitator is also an expert on trustee/director/staff roles and relationships. She will be educating us on those in addition to helping us resolve our differences. I'm sure I have my share of misconceptions to be corrected, and there may well be more public apologies she'll be asking of me!

I remain hopeful this process will succeed. At our last two meetings we've demonstrated we can still work as a team. And if you look at the times we've kept away from trying to manage the library and stuck to governing it, I think this board can claim a pretty darn good record of accomplishments!

Chris Hoffmann
Trustee, Jones Library System

The "personal email" in question

-----Original Message-----
From: Emily Lewis
To: Chris Hoffmann and listserve

Let me say something now; I have been silent, but my silence, is not agreement.

THe board is not comprised of politicians. We are elected, but being elected does not a true politician make. I have no funds, no political party, no political leaning in my decisions. I am making no money at what I am doing. We have been elected to ensure that a public institution is not run without oversight or question, by a private person.

This is completely a controversy over policy, despite Chris' statement.

Further: the Supreme Court analogy is inaccurate at best.
We will be meeting with a facilitator to learn how to work together.
There may be advice; one can hope for this.
Further: I do not want any more apologies. I want direct discussion with me. At this point I do not trust my fellow trustee; what I want is that trust back....before the summer is when I had it.

That's it for now.
Thank you.

MEETING TIME: 4:30 PM. Friday 10/15
LOCATION: Jones Library, Large Meeting Room.
LIST OF TOPICS: Agenda. Minutes: 7/27/10, 8/4/10, 9/28/10 for approval.
Public comment. Formal acceptance of the Director's notice of retirement.
Interim Director. Plans for seeking a new Director. Board priorities for
transition period.


Anonymous said...

Teapot meet tempest.

Tempest meet teapot.

Now all play nice so the world can worry about things that are actually important.

LarryK4 said...

Oh, I think in uber-educated Amherst, the Jones Library is pretty important to people (as it damn well should be).

Anonymous said...

since the one trustee....who needs to learn to play nice is out of the country...(for a 1/3rd of her term) who will teach her...or will be skyped the info

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, safe bet she will be tuning in this Friday to the Trustees meeting via skype.

And somewhere down the road, cross examining finalists to replace the current Director she so effectively ran off.

Anonymous said...

You library trustees sure keep me busy as an interpreter. I hope you enjoyed my earlier summary of Pat's letter. Here is a summary of Emily's letter:

I don't like you or Carol, but you're not as intimidating as she is. Besides, I didn't really mind what Carol was doing. Don't do this again, or I'll be even angrier. I wish I could think of some way to get back at you, but I'm not as mean as Carol.

Here is a summary of Chris's letter:

I'm sorry, but really it was your fault. I sure hope you can shape up. When the facilitator tells you were wrong, by God, please listen! Now I have to close with something cheerful.

LarryK4 said...

About sums it up. (Monarch Notes versions).

Anonymous said...

When I interpreted Pat's Letter, I forgot her P.S.

P.S. I'm getting senile now, so Sarah wrote most of this letter.

LarryK4 said...

Well, according to Shakespeare witches work in three's ("Double, double toil and trouble.")

Anonymous said...

Emily needs to learn a few things.

1. It's not going back to that comfortable time for conspirators.
2. "Sometimes you can no longer be silent" applies to Chris too.

Anonymous said...

The interpreter is hilarious, and I laughed at Larry's Shakespeare comment too. But really it's a witch hunt ... who will they go after next?

Anonymous said...

This is the interpreter. Thanks so much for the compliment. Keep the raw material coming, Trustees (and their ever reliable sock puppets, too).

Anonymous said...

I want to see the interpreter get to work translating some of that school-based bureaucratic jargon that we hear at both School Committee meetings and also on the GerykChannel, formerly known as ACTV.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but this interpreter does not know the intricacies of the school committee language and therefore can't give an accurate translation. Perhaps a fluent School Interpreter will step forward.

The Library Interpreter

Anonymous said...

Do you interpret sock puppets?

Anonymous said...

This is the Library Interpreter, back with a translation of the Scott Merzbach's article in the 10/15 Amherst Bulletin:

Bonnie: I hate to let down my supporters, but I can't stand another minute. They are not letting up! I'm so out of here.

Pat: Huh? Bonnie's quitting? Oh yes, that's right, Carol told me back in February this was the plan. Now I have to think of something nice to say for the papers. Let's see... um... Maybe I should ask Sarah for an idea.

Bob Saul, Finance Committee: Chris didn't reveal the half of it. Those bitches are really fucking terrible. Not just Carol. Sarah McKee is almost as bad, if anyone can be "almost as bad" as Carol.

Scott Merzbach: I wish the chickenshit editor and publisher would let me write everything I know. And I wish someone would leak that evaluation report to me. Wonder what's in it...

Chris: Fucking bitches. Now I have to fight them on the next director. God, I hope someone good runs for trustee next election.

Carol: YES!!!!!!!!!! I'm so great! I knew I could do it! Now, I wonder which sock puppet I should appoint as new director. Hmmm..... It was a great idea the keep that evaluation report "confidential" since I can pretend in public it wasn't a hatchet job. But I better make sure Pat didn't absentmindedly leave her copy at the circulation desk....

Nancy Gregg: Those fucking bitches! That election can't come soon enough!

Bonnie (getting the last word): I'm staying in Amherst, and I'm going to LOVE watching Carol go down! Maybe I'll start posting anonymously to Larry Kelley's blog. Sweet revenge!

The Library Interpreter

Trustee elections in March. Run! Vote!